Taiwan says diplomat sent to hospital after China spat in Fiji

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Updated 19 October 2020

Taiwan says diplomat sent to hospital after China spat in Fiji

  • Two Chinese diplomats stormed into a Taiwanese reception trying to gather information on who was attending, Taipei says
  • Violence ensued after the hosts tried to prevent the intruders from entering, and a Taiwanese diplomat suffered a head injury

TAIPEI: A Taiwanese diplomat ended up in hospital in Fiji this month after two Chinese diplomats stormed into a reception trying to gather information on who was attending, Taiwan’s foreign ministry said on Monday, in an unusual escalation of tensions.
China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has recently ramped up pressure on Taipei to accept Chinese sovereignty, including sending fighter jets near the democratically-run island.
The Pacific is a major source of competition between the two, where Taiwan has formal diplomatic relations with four countries, though not Fiji. China says Taiwan is one of its provinces, with no right to full ties with foreign countries.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said the incident happened on the evening of Oct. 8 at a Taiwan national day reception organized by Taiwan’s representative office in Fiji, where two Chinese diplomats tried to force their way in to take pictures and collect information on who was attending.
Violence ensued after Taiwanese diplomats tried to prevent them from entering, and a Taiwanese diplomat was sent to hospital with a head injury, the ministry said.
Fiji police forced the Chinese diplomats from the venue, who later said it was them who were attacked by Taiwanese diplomats, the ministry added.
Neither China nor Fiji’s foreign ministry immediately responded to requests for comment.
Speaking in parliament, Taiwan Deputy Foreign Minister Henry Tseng said: “We are still looking at whether this represents common behavior or was an isolated incident. But we condemn these irrational acts by the Chinese diplomats.”
Larry Tseng, the head of the ministry’s East Asia and Pacific affairs department, said the Chinese were trying to work out whether any Fijian politicians were present at the event.
There were injuries on both sides in the “pushing and shoving” that took place between the Chinese and Taiwanese diplomats, he added. 


Academic freed in Iran ‘blown away’ by support

Updated 01 December 2020

Academic freed in Iran ‘blown away’ by support

SYDNEY: An Australian-British academic released after two years imprisoned in Iran on spying charges said she thanked supporters from the “bottom of my heart” Tuesday, saying they helped her through a “never-ending, unrelenting nightmare.”
In her first statement since arriving back in Australia, Middle East scholar Kylie Moore-Gilbert said she was “totally blown away” by efforts from friends and family to secure her release.
“I honestly have no words to express the depth of my gratitude and how touched I am,” the 33-year-old said.
“It gave me so much hope and strength to endure what had seemed like a never-ending, unrelenting nightmare. My freedom truly is your victory. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!“
Moore-Gilbert was released last week in a swap for three Iranians linked to a botched plot to kill Israeli officials in Bangkok.
She was arrested by Iran’s hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in 2018, after attending an academic conference in the holy city of Qom in central Iran.
She was later charged with espionage and sentenced to 10 years in jail, allegations she has denied.
arb/mtp